Groups can post their presentations in the comments section below.

This week in class, we will be discussing the economic context for American families and its impact. How do families negotiate work and family life? What is the impact of the second shift on families? We will be reading chapter 9: Work and Family Life on Tuesday, and Chapter 10: Family and the Economy on Thursday. In addition, we will watch the documentary Inequality for All.

The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home, Arlie Hochschild, with Anne Machung



In this article, the Holts family is followed by the authors and their story represents the ways in which men and women negotiate their division of household labor, or do not. Nancy felt she was doing 80% of the housework and 90 percent of the childcare. Evan felt he did 40 percent of the housework and 30 percent of the childcare. How did Nancy and Evan negotiate this workload among themselves?

In order to understand this issue more, we will have two groups focus on this article: Groups 1 and 2.

Group 1: Demonstrate visually (through performing, drawing on the white board, or through images) this issue of how men and women view the division of household labor. Present this to the class.

Group 2: Find statistics on the division of household labor. Some international comparisons with Europe or other countries. GLBT families and household labor statistics. A few discussion questions.

pamelaThe Rhetoric and Reality of “Opting Out,” Pamela Stone

Stone interviewed 54 women in a variety of high powered professions, and studied their stories and opportunities for work-family balance. In the end, these women chose to quit their jobs and stay at home, because of unyielding husbands who were basically absent at home because of their high demand jobs, and an inflexible workplace that did not provide flexible options.

Group 3: Draw on the white board, or enact, or demonstrate visually, the main topics of this chapter. Be sure to cover the following ideas: opting-out, choice gap, concerted cultivation, elder-care, absentee fathers/husbands, ideal worker.

Group 4: find statistics on the main topics included in the article: percentage of women who opt out, what careers they held, flexible workplaces, family policies, and cost of childcare. Discussion questions.

One Sick Child Away from Being Fired,” Joan C. Williams 

This article is based on ninety-nine cases of union arbitrations caused by workers being fired because they left work to take care of a sick child, or to fulfill their childcare duties. Most workers, however, are not unionized (87%), and therefore have less protection than these workers. Blue and pink collar workers have rigid schedules and can be dismissed for leaving or arriving late. Many parents do what the author calls, “tag teams” to take care of child care, when the couple works at different times so that one of them can be home to take care of the kids. When this fragile network fails, it causes problems at work, including termination. Many rely on family members for child care, as the costs for a one year old child in day care can cost as much as the local state college tuition.

Group 5: Represent the chapter visually, through a drawing, enactment or another method.

Group 6: Provide some statistics that the article does and does not cover. Discussion questions.

On Tuesday, group 2 will be discussing various diverse family formations. They will post their presentation in the comments section below. Remember that all group presentations will be on the exam.

On Thursday, we will be reviewing for our upcoming group projects. Each group will create a Prezi for their upcoming presentations, so this will give us a chance to get on the same page with the software and out group members.

On Tuesday, group 1 will give their presentation on foster care and adoption. Their presentation and information will be posted here in this blog posting comments. You can access their Prezi here. Their presentation information will be on the exam, so you can check back here as a study guide as well.

A few highlights of their presentation:

  • Foster care is temporary whereas adoption is permanent
  • African American children are 41% of foster care population, whites 40%, Hispanic 15%
  • 21% of adoptions are transracial
  • Reasons for adoption: infertility, desire more children, parent was adopted themselves, couple has previously adopted a child, single individuals who want children
  • Same sex couples face institutional discrimination; Florida is the only state to outright ban same sex couples, other states limit adoption to married couples
  • Types of adoptions: public, private, kinship, step parent, transracial, international

We will also watch the beginning of the documentary Aging Out. Individuals who turn 18 while in foster care are those who are “aging out.” The numbers range from 20-30 thousand per year, out of a total foster care population of 400,000.

There is a really interested documentary about international surrogacy called “Google Baby” that shows the world of bringing together sperm, eggs, and surrogate women who live in India and produce babies that are genetically of their mother and father adopting couples.

5E9A7894Dr. Brian Frank, our guest speaker on Thursday October 16, 2014, is a member of Lambda Family Circle, an organization that supports GLBT families. He spoke with our Sociology of the Family class as well as Sociology of Deviant Behavior during the fall of 2013 to share the story of his family. He and his partner Steven adopted their son in New York state through the foster care system. His personal story sheds light on the sociological processes surrounding the creation of family in the United States. You can access his PowerPoint presentation here: Siena Fall 2015

In class, we will be watching The Business of Being Born, a documentary that overviews the crisis in the medical establishment in regards to birthing in the United States. Reading comes from the book, Cut it Out: The C-Section Epidemic in America by Theresa Morris, which explores the question: why are c-section rates skyrocketing in the United States?

In class on Tuesday, October 7, we will be covering four articles that discuss research about both marriage and divorce. While the divorce rate in the United States hoovers around 50% for first marriages, it is not a random happening, but based influenced by particular sociological issues. Our discussion will be based on this that covers the four articles.

If interested in Stephanie Coontz’s discussion on the history of marriage, see the following video:

The Gottman Institute is a renowned organization that studies and presents on issues of relationship and marriage satisfaction. Their claim is the ability to predict whether a couple will divorce or not, based on laboratory observations of how couples fight and resolve conflict. In addition, while researchers agree that marriages are based on different perspectives (each couple member) and on good and bad aspects of the relationship. For Gottman, he feels that couples need a ration of five positive traits for each negative trait in order to have a happy, healthy, and long lasting marriage.

In this video, John Gottman talks about their research on “the masters” of relationships.


On Thursday, we will have our exam take place in class.

OnlineDatingYou can post your blog response about online dating in the comments section below. Your post will be due before class on Tuesday. Assignment criteria:

Write a short essay of 250 words or more about a particular sociological aspect of online dating. How is your topic sociologically interesting? This can focus on a particular website and its business model, how much money it makes, how the website works, the ways it controls behavior of participants. You can focus on how certain demographic groups interact online. How demographic groups are targeted by certain websites. How social power is created online. Dating among a particular institution: religion, profession, etc.

You should open with an illustrative story. Then present your argument. Then present your data. Do not include long quotes from the source(s), write in your own words. Include your reflection on the topic. Introduce your link (author, title) and include it in the text or at the bottom, but definitely refer to it specifically. Have a conclusion.

Here is an article “Dating Services in the U.S.: Market Research Report.” In this report we learn that the business makes $2 billion/year, with an annual growth rate of 4.8% and employs 7,649 people, through a total of 3,851 businesses.

In class on Tuesday, we will watch the documentary When Strangers Click.

On Thursday the 25, we will briefly review some points on teen pregnancy.

We will also turn to our next assignment, a blog posting about online dating, focusing on the business aspects of the industry, niche markets, statistics and so on. Please do look for some social science type articles on the topic, which can be academic or websites that are based on research.


This week in class, we will be discussing issues of sexuality and youth. On Blackboard, please find and read the articles, “Avenue to Adulthood,” and “Hooking Up and Dating: A Comparison.” Come to class ready to discuss these articles. Bring your notes and talking points. This Prezi overviews the book Destinies of the Disadvantaged: The Politics of Teen Childbearing, by Frank F. Furstenberg.

Feminist filmmaker Therese Shechter analyzes the social construction of the idea of female virginity in her documentary, How to Lose Your Virginity. This website provides sex education for teens: scarleteen.

Paula England is a preeminent researcher on the hookup culture among college students across the country at 18 public and private universities.

The short documentary below, Slutwalk: A Day in Her Heels, overviews the activism behind the North American Slutwalk movement, which addresses the issue of rape culture. What percentage of women and men will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18? For American women, how many will be sexually abused during their lifetime? See statistics here at WOAR


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 58 other followers